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505-Paper-1002.docx (3)

505-Paper-1002.docx (3)

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Published by Adam Nisbet

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Published by: Adam Nisbet on Dec 15, 2009
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12/15/2009

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Adam Nisbet505 MidtermThroughout October 2009 the first-year class of Communication, Culture & Technologystudents participated in an experimental web-based game that would challenge each studentsunderstanding of technological communication. From this experience we have learned that whatappears to be a simple virtual game contains many clues on how complex technologicalcommunication structures function. The students were separated into six teams and began totake turns with the ultimate goal of conquering Washington, DC in a virtual environment. Whiletrying to adapt to the constraints and set rules of the new game each team began to structure their organization to best disseminate their strategy and instructions from the leadership. These initialdeviations in leadership organization proved to have a substantial effect on the outcome of thegame and whether a team would be successful. This project will demonstrate that with the righttype of leadership structure in place a team can become more efficient and effective which willlead to cooperative participation and indirectly increase energy and territory. WithinGoCrossCampus the leadership style that nurtures the participation of their membership willultimately succeed.Serving as a commander within the game I observed how the leadership was transmittingmessages, formulating strategies, and communicating with the team as a whole. I'm sure theother commanders put just as much thought into leading their teams but each team isdifferentiated by the manner in which their leadership was organized. Throughout the gamedifferent levels of executive communication evolved across several platforms whether it was themost rich, face-to-face conversation, (obviously the most serious decisions are made in thismanner) to verbose emails, to text messages, to wall posts, to personal phone calls, to massemails, game chat, and finally the message board (while being the least intrusive was a guidepost
 
for instruction). Each teams’ commanders usage of these technologies and communicationoutput methods inevitably affected the outcome of the game. Furthermore, the team institutingthe right type of leadership structure using technology the most effectively to transmit media-richmessages, and to increase participation, could ultimately stand a chance of winning. Is it acoincidence that the team with the most chat conversations and the most messages within thegame inevitably won? This study will demonstrate that there is a relationship between anincrease in communication and an increase in participation, although there are other qualitativecharacteristics that can determine whether the communication is effective. Measuring the qualityand richness of leadership messages and determining the preferences for different forms of communication within specific situations will demonstrate that the mode in which a message istransmitted directly affects the amount of reciprocated participation. When the wrong media ischosen or the messages are perceived as unenthusiastic it may result in a decline of participation.By analyzing the chat scripts we can see how much a commander engaged in instructingtheir team about strategy and how much time they spent directly interacting with each player.We can also gain a glimpse of how much media-richness each team used by examining their team emails. This could answer the question of how much communication, and how rich, ittakes to guide a team effectively. The aim of this paper is to quantitatively and qualitativelydefine the relationship between leadership communication and player participation within thegame.Reviewing communication theory may reveal which leadership methods work mosteffectively within a virtual environment such as GoCrossCampus. A further analysis of Daft &
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Lengell's article "The Selection of Communication Media as an Executive Skill” relates well tothis study and could help further understand the problems associated with communication withinan organization across various mediums. "A medium can enhance or distort the intendedmessage, and the explosion in electronic technology is making media selection an even morecritical issue. Each channel of communication - be it written, telephone, face-to-face, or electronic - has characteristics that make it appropriate in some situations and not in others (Daft& Lengel, 225)." Even in a game such as GoCrossCampus leaders who may be competentcommunicators do not get their message across clearly through every medium and in certaincases the use of more media, or the wrong media, can prove unproductive. With this said, thereis a need to examine the modes by which teams communicated the most and how that relates tothe teams participation and their ranking at the end of the game.The second approach to the study would involve a cultural theory focus on thedevelopment of a community sharing knowledge as described in “The Anatomy of a KnowledgeCommunity.” In Henry Jenkins "Convergence Culture" he writes about the sharing andcontrolling of knowledge between people involved in a game. The game that his book focuseson is "Survivor" the popular American television series that surrounds a stranded group of contestants vying to be the last to survive. While the scenario is slightly different Jenkins’observations about this televised game hold true for CCT’s virtual game. The author talks of highly guarded secrets that must not be exposed to the audience or spies. In GoCrossCampusstudents were asked to keep their strategies secret and many alliances were only known by fewindividuals. Leaders directed a specific group of individuals, across digital media, to act inunification. All of the strategies were carried out amongst carefully crafted offensives of espionage. Spies were a common threat to a commanders messaging strategy and this put further 
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